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Biceps Tendon Repair at Elbow


The aim of surgery is to reattach the torn tendon end to bone. Surgery should be undertaken in the first 2-4 weeks. After that, repair becomes more difficult as the tendon retracts further and risks of surgery increase.


Surgery is recommended for:

  • Active individuals.
  • Workers requiring repetitive elbow use / strength.
  • Athletes.
  • Those concerned about cosmetic appearance.


The surgery is under general anaesthesia and is performed as day only in hospital. Through a small incision at the front of the elbow, the torn tendon end is identified and reattached (if reparable) to the bone using drill holes and a toggle button which is passed through to the other side of the bone to maintain the attachment.

The arm is placed in a sling post operatively to protect the tendon reattachment.


After surgery, sling is used for comfort only. Once can start gentle elbow / hand / finger movement immediately after surgery.

The tendon takes 3 months to heal and fully attach to the bone. Light duties / office work can begin immediately after surgery. Lifting is limited in the first 6 weeks.

Sports and manual labour using the affected arm can begin at approximately 3 months post-surgery.


The muscle shape is returned to normal. Patients regain strength and normal function at approximately 3-4month post-surgery.

Risks and complications

These include:

  • Re-rupture of tendon.
  • Pins and needles / numbness in the forearm due to stretch of nerves during surgery.
  • Fracture of the bone.
  • Permanent nerve damage <1%.
  • Infection.